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Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #497212 10/05/18 02:06 AM
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There are two grey female Muscovies remaining. The rest went back to where they came from. There were simply too many of them to be sustainable within the area we have. However, history may be about to repeat itself . . .

Trevor the (female) Mallard is being followed around by eleven ducklings - being Pekin/Mallard crosses. The Khaki Campbell had ten, but is now down to nine, after I found one dead, floating in the pond.

There does seem to often be some unpleasant inter-generational aggression involving the ducklings. Given there's no food shortage, it seems quite needless. The dead duckling may have been a casualty of that squabbling.

Lucy tried incubating some infertile eggs, until I took pity on her and removed them.

We launched the dinghy a week ago, to pull up the pump and clear the screen. The flow of water through the flowforms has improved, markedly. As has the reduced turbidity from fewer Muscovies.

Summer is upon us and there is all the usual seasonal chores. The main one is replacing batteries and re-programming everything to do with irrigation. Just when I thought that I had the irrigation more or less under control . . . I looked out the carport door this morning to see a gusher atop the shed.

A 19mm aerial irrigation pipe had ruptured. So I turned that off and set about the repair. It's what's called thinwall or lateral pipe, made from alkathene. A section of around three feet long was brittle. I found that out as I sought to cut a neat end in the pipe to put in a joiner, only to see it split, shatter or crack, with each cut. By the time I'd cut back four inch sections until I'd got out of the brittle part, I needed a three foot length of replacement pipe and two joiners.

Well, the timers and automation part seem O.K. so far anyway . . . (fingers crossed)

The pond is still getting a top up for an hour, as part of the daily irrigation cycle. Probably around 3,000 gallons - maybe 3,500.

Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #506743 06/01/19 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted By: PerryNZ
The various Internet sources I consulted were right. Almost a total (watermeal) takeover in a matter of days. The very hot, unusually humid weather was probably a big help.

Not sure how worried I should be. The flowforms should be looking after the aeration and the watermeal cover may even help the water temperature remain lower than usual.

Well it was early 2018 when I made that post, with the accompanying pix. It's now June 2019 and a lot has changed.

1) A week ago, I captured and removed to a local wildlife sanctuary, over 25 ducks. There are four amphibious avians left.
* Trevor the [female] mallard
* Two ugly-but-cute Muscovy females
* Lucy the rescue goose.

With luck, that should arrest any further population explosions.

2) The continuing pond bank damage and my sanity made that re-location essential. But something else happened at approx. the same time. The dense, total water surface cover of watermeal and duckweed has gone. Happened in about a week. I've no idea why - but I'm not complaining.

In the next day or two, I'll take some pix and present them here for all to see.

Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #506744 06/01/19 05:28 AM
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No idea why on the plants


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #506782 06/01/19 11:55 PM
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To refresh your memory, back in an earlier post I had this image:

The total coverage of the watermeal coverage is obvious. That pic was taken in early Spring.

Much later, (over a year), in early winter, taken from approximately the same point . . .


It was a windy day and the small amount of duckweed and watermeal remaining is at the same windward end of the pond as the photographer.

Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #509676 08/01/19 09:21 PM
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I went away for 43 days and lowered the daily pond fill rate for that period. Being winter, I thought it might rain a lot. It didn't. After now being back and 2 weeks of longer daily pumping, the water level is getting close to what it was before I left.

I've been around some parts of the edges with assorted butressing that enabled me to reclaim / rebuild edges which the ducks had severely eroded. It will take a while to get all the way round the parts of the edge which need repairs, as I need grass roots to grow and bind the edge fill so it won't collapse, before I move the butressing to the next position.

Water
It's certainly been a kaleidoscope of experiences. Cloudy water; clear water; pond scum total coverage; pond weed total coverage and now slightly cloudy and green-hued water. Like the other experiences, perhaps it's just a matter of waiting and seeing what happens. Sometimes, I wonder if changes in water depth produce observable changes in water 'quality.'

Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #509688 08/02/19 04:51 AM
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Perry, same thing has happened to me. I assume that less water is available to handle the nutrient load.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #509710 08/02/19 03:20 PM
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The pond is - of course - a closed body of water, with fairly nutrient-rich supernatatant being added daily from our waste water bio-digester. The grass-eating, in-pond-pooping ducks will be adding a very small amount, too. I imagine seepage losses are probably equal to the inputs, but that's a guess.

I could get some water testing done, but what use would that be? Beyond telling me the 'state' of the water. It's not a swimming pool! I can't imagine what I could do to change any aspect of the water's dissolved salts / other components, realistically.

For the time being, a keep waiting and watching stance seems akin to a masterly policy of inactivity, to me. wink

Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #509979 08/07/19 11:42 PM
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The water seems to be getting greener. And, in the slow 'evolution' of the pond ecology, pond scum is returning. To me, it does not appear the same - close-up - as any previous incarnations.

The pic of the scum is deceptive. The greenness of the water obscures the greenness of the scum. And is it scum? A collated patch of bubbles? I wonder if it will cover the whole pond surface?


Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #510103 08/10/19 10:55 PM
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Strange - I'd Forgotten

Overnight, we had a brief period of fairly heavy rain. Not a downpour, nor a sprinkle. After rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I peered out the bedroom window in the morning to see a pond with its surface clear. Huh?

Then I remembered a previous occasion. Rain seems to obliterate certain pond scum incidences. Certainly the ones which depend on clusters of bubbles. Later, when I looked more closely, the only remaining vestiges were under overhanging trees, where the bubble-scum would dodge rain drops arriving from the sky at terminal velocity.

Tis a weird pond world.

Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #513949 11/12/19 12:33 AM
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I got down on my knees the other day and groped under the pond edge. Sure enough, the mallard et al are pecking (billing?) in under the bank edge. I could slide my fingers in a couple of inches where the undermining was happening.

Seems that I'll need to consider a solid pond edge / margin, in the form of bricks or paving slabs / stones or re-cycled bits of broken concrete or the like. If I don't do something, the pond will get bigger than I want it to, as the undermined bank collapses downwards on itself, from time-to-time.

I wondered if - like hens - ducks need grit for their crops, so 'mining' for grit and stones from the pond edge is a sort-of natural phenomenon.

Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #514269 11/23/19 06:11 PM
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Without ceremony, the floating island was launched, today.


November 2019 and the duckweed returned with the advent of summer. And how! 24 November saw the launch of the floating island, the plants of which are intended to be nutrient strippers, to help clear the water, as well as be decorative.

Pond Pickerel (pontederia cordata) should give some lovely spikes of blue flowers, later in the season. Around the edges, the other plant (sweetflag), did not like being out of the water that long. It was two weeks from building the floating island to launching it in the pond.

The framework is a discarded plastic pallet. Floatation courtesy of eight soft drink bottles. Old wire netting, doubled, stops the growing media from falling out. Eventually - I hope - the roots of the plants will bind the bark chips together. The scraps of netting on the top are to stop the ducks digging.

Last edited by PerryNZ; 11/23/19 06:12 PM.
Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #514270 11/23/19 06:47 PM
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Interesting idea Perry. Please post update photos as your summer goes along and the plants fill in the island! smile



You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!
Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #514271 11/23/19 06:59 PM
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Will do. Long view . . .

Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #514272 11/23/19 07:45 PM
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Looks very serene. Did you anchor the island or are you going to let it drift around?



You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!
Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #514277 11/23/19 09:33 PM
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My plan is to anchor it, with a (say) five foot long cord. The reason being I want it to swing with the wind, so the plant roots don't establish a grip on the pond bottom.

Today's launch was a sort-of concept test. (I had hoped it would float, rather than sink.) As I but dimly understand it, once the acorous and pontederia roots tie the bark chips together, their root mass will generate some gas that will co-generate buoyancy. If that happens, then I may be able to remove some of the PET soft drink bottle floats.

I may be persuaded to construct another floating island. Consequently, I'm wide open to suggestions for good nutrient-stripping water plant varieties, that can cope with ducks and are available in New Zealand.

By-the-by, I have heard a frog croaking away, in the last few weeks. Last time I heard that was back in 2017. It's always a source of wonder and perplexity to me as to how Nature 'seeds' things. Last I knew, neither tadpoles nor frogs had wings. wink

Recall that, "Nature finds a way" remark by Sam Neill in Jurassic Park?

Those two fly-in-invaders and 'seeding'' mallards being yet another example.

Last edited by PerryNZ; 11/23/19 09:33 PM.
Re: Pond Mission Impossible?
PerryNZ #518651 03/31/20 10:04 PM
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Well, the pontederia has thickened. One even separated in some way and seems to be starting its own little island. (In the circle, top right, in the first pic) The acorus seems to have all perished. Also, if the information was indeed correct, the island is not generating much root mass buoyancy gas. It used to have half to a quarter of an inch freeboard. Not now!
[Linked Image from spillerfamily.info]

The duckeed and wolfia is almost thick enough to walk on. That seems to be enough for the breakway piece of pontederia to start its own island. After it first 'broke off,' it lay on the surface, horizontally, for quite some time. I shall be watching with some interest. Especially as winter temperatures seems to thin the surface weed mat.
[Linked Image from spillerfamily.info]

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